There’s no room for Nick Franklin in Seattle because the Mariners don’t trust his defense at shortstop and Robinson Cano kind of has second base locked down for a while, but he’d make plenty of sense for a lot of other teams.
And apparently the A’s are one of them, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Franklin “is a top target” for Oakland “but the question will be whether Seattle–currently in a playoff spot–would want to strengthen a division rival.”
Oakland would use Franklin at second base, which is where he played for Seattle last season before Cano pushed him out of a job and back to Triple-A. He hasn’t produced much in the majors yet, but Franklin is still just 23 years old and has hit .300 with nine homers and an .875 OPS in 60 games at Triple-A this season after posting even better numbers there last year.
Trades within divisions are rare, but the Mariners have been said to be shopping Franklin since signing Cano this offseason and Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com says the A’s still have plenty of talent in their farm system even after the big trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.